Oregon Researchers Recognized for Outstanding Leadership, Scientific Contributions

11/21/01    Portland, Ore.

Mentor and Discovery Awards go to OHSU, OSU scientists

The Medical Research Foundation, an affiliate of the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, will award the winners of the 2001 Medical Research Foundation Mentor and Discovery Awards at an awards ceremony on Monday, Nov. 26, at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

This year's winners are: Thomas G. Cooney, M.D., F.A.C.P., for outstanding leadership and support of health research and education; P. Shing Ho, Ph.D., and James Rosenbaum, M.D., for their significant original contributions to health-related research in Oregon.

Cooney, professor, program director and vice chairman for education in OHSU's School of Medicine, will receive a Mentor Award for his leadership of OHSU's internal medicine training program and his mentorship of junior faculty and residents. Under Cooney's guidance, the School of Medicine's residency training program has become a national model. As president of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, he played a key role in producing a publication that served as a national template for residency programs.

Ho, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University, will receive a Discovery Award for his vigorous and productive research programs. His research group recently determined the detailed structure of the Holliday junction, a four-stranded DNA that is the key intermediate in moving genes and pieces of genes between chromosomes for the purposes of repairing damaged DNA and integrating viral DNA into chromosomes. This study provides a precise structure for a previously undefined model of great biological importance.

Rosenbaum, professor of medicine, ophthalmology and cell biology in the OHSU School of Medicine, and assistant dean of research at Casey Eye Institute, will be honored with a Discovery Award for his work in immunology and molecular research. He has used his knowledge of inflammation and the immune response to study uveitis, or inflammation of the eye. Twenty years ago Rosenbaum developed a model to study uveitis; the model continues to be used around the world. His laboratory team uses the eye to video-photograph the process of white cell migration, an integral component of the immune response. These images have resulted in unique insights as to how white cells might respond to an infection or overreact in causing autoimmune disease.

Presenting this year's awards will be D. Lynn Loriaux, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of OHSU's Department of Medicine; Christopher Mathews, Ph.D., professor and chairman of Oregon State University's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics; and Joseph Robertson Jr., M.D., professor and chairman of OHSU's Department of Ophthalmology, and interim dean of the School of Medicine. This year's recipients will receive a cash award of $5,000 and an engraved crystal paperweight recognizing their achievements.

The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon was founded in 1942 by a group of businessmen and physicians for the purpose of stimulating the development of medical research in Oregon. They primarily raised money to support new research efforts by biomedical scientists in Oregon. In 1974 the MRF created the Discovery Award; one year later the Mentor Award was established.

The MRF's assets are managed by the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, which also administers its award process. The foundation awards approximately $1 million in grants each year for new research projects initiated by Oregon scientists.